This chart indicates that one product group above all was responsible for this increase in goods exports, namely the group \’mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials\”, which made a sudden leap to 6 times its previous level, increasing by €5 billion, an amount corresponding to the overall increase of goods exports from Greece (see paragraph above).
This is a bizarre finding, for two reasons. What is striking about this particular group is that it mainly contains products that are highly capital – and material – intensive (coal, petroleum, gas, electric current). Labour cost cuts are therefore the least likely explanation for this sudden surge in exports. Moreover, the surge in exports of this product group from Greece is limited to the rest of the world. There is no increase in these exports to European markets.
An explanation for this riddle can be found in a note from the Greek statistical office, the Hellenic Statistical Authority, Press release, \’Commercial transactions of Greece (Estimations): August 2012\’, October 10th. The note says the following: \”Data on trade in petroleum products are not included due to a revision under way of the respective time series. The revision aims to incorporate revised primary data that have been recently provided by the Customs Authority\”.
In other words, what may very well be responsible for much or this entire surge in Greek exports are \”revised primary data\”, i.e. simply a difference in counting.
We\’re back to Hayek again. The numbers that politicians try to use to plan the world aren\’t good enough for anyone to use to try to plan the world.